In Its Fullness

Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 6:04 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Unless You Are Born Again” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Colossians 1 (NIV).

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness… v. 25

The True Message

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. Vv. 4-6

All throughout scripture we read of the importance of truth, because God is truth. The New Testament stresses the importance of speaking the truth in love, of knowing the truth so the truth can set you free, of focusing our minds on what is true; and of discerning truth from lies, false apostles from true apostles, and false teaching from the true message of the gospel. We also read about how true worshipers of God will worship him in the Spirit and in truth, how Jesus Christ is the true bread from heaven, and the true vine, and how our God is the only true God. The word of God also speaks concerning true righteousness and holiness, true godliness, true sons and daughters of the faith, and the true grace of God. God hates lies, and truth really matters to him, for one reason because the enemy is the father of lies and his main goal is to deceive and to lead God’s children astray.

What this means is that surely we need to know what is true so that we can discern truth from lies, because our enemy is very clever, stealthy, subtle and very convincing. So, we need to know and understand the true message of the gospel and the true grace of God. Then we can reject the lies when they come against the truth of the gospel of Christ.

From Darkness to Light

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Vv. 9-14

The Apostle Paul (then Saul), when he was commissioned by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel of salvation to both Jews and Gentiles, was told by Jesus (See Ac. 26:16-18):

“I am sending you to themto open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

This (above) is really the crux of the gospel, i.e. Jesus Christ died on the cross, taking upon himself the sins of the entire world, and he rose again from the grave in conquering sin, hell, Satan and death, so that we would have our eyes opened to the truth, so that we would be turned from darkness (sin, evil, deception) to the light (Christ’s righteousness and holiness, truth), and from the power of Satan over our lives (from slavery to sin) to God, to follow him through faith in Jesus Christ. The result of this Spiritual transformation in our lives, initiated, provided for and produced by the Spirit of God, as we submit to God and we cooperate with that work of grace in our hearts and lives, is that we are forgiven of our sins, and we are placed among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ. Amen!

The result of this heart transformation thus is that we should love other people, in particular those within the family of God; the gospel of Jesus Christ should be bearing fruit (result) and growing (increasing) among us as a result of us having understood and accepted the true grace of God; we should be continually being filled with the knowledge of God’s will for our lives through all spiritual wisdom and understanding, which we receive from God; and because of this we should be living lives pleasing to God, bearing fruit (harvest; outgrowth; result; product) in every good work. We should also exemplify great endurance and patience in trial and tribulation, giving joyful thanks to the Father – all in the strength and power of God within us. In other words, true transformation should result in a life-altering change of heart, mind, attitude and behavior – out with the old, in with the new.

Peace Through His Blood

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Vv. 15-20

Jesus Christ is God the Son. He was with God in the beginning, and all things are made by him. He is our creator and sustainer. Yet, he willingly left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human form, suffered as we suffer, and was tempted as we are tempted, yet without sin. And, he also willingly submitted to death on a cross, although he had done no wrong, just so you and I could go free from slavery to sin (power of Satan), free from eternity in hell, and so we could be free to walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness each day while we still live on the face of this earth. Because he conquered sin we no longer have to be controlled by it. It does not mean we will never sin again, but it means we are free from the power and sway of sin over our lives. He has provided the way out if we will take it. Satan, though, likes to convince Christians that they are still under that power of sin and that they can’t be free from it, but Christ has already paid the price and has set us free! We just need to walk in that freedom in the power and strength of the Spirit within us.

Enemies in Our Minds

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Vv. 21-23

When we were outside of faith in Jesus Christ we were alienated from God and thus we were his enemies in our minds because of our evil behavior. The sad reality here, though, is that many professing Christians still live their lives as though they are still enemies of God in their minds because of their evil behavior. Jesus Christ said:

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matt. 12:30). He also said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? (Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Eph. 4:17-24).

An enemy is an opponent, adversary, rival or competitor. When we behave in opposition to God’s grace in saving us, to his Word, and to the law of Christ Jesus – through sinful behavior which begins in our minds - we are acting as enemies of God and of his gospel. Many professing Christians, though, have bought into the lie of Satan that says God’s grace covers it all so it doesn’t matter really what we do, because our eternity is secure. So, they fill their minds with the things of this sinful world, take in its garbage, excuse away being entertained by sinful behavior if it is not “too bad,” and then wonder why they still struggle with sinful behaviors of their past lives. Brothers and sisters, we can’t play with fire and expect to not get burned. We have to throw off everything that hinders and the sins that so easily entangle us so we can run with perseverance the race marked out for us. We have to stop accepting the lies of the enemy, and we have to stop taking his filth into our minds, so that God, by his Spirit, can purify our minds, and then our behaviors will follow suit.

This passage of scripture, and many others like it in the New Testament, says that God has reconciled us to himself by Christ’s death and blood to present us holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – IF we continue in our faith, established and firm, and we do not move from the hope held out to us in the gospel (Cf. Rom. 11:17-24; I Co 15:2; II Tim 2:10-13; Hebrews 3:14-15; II Peter 1:5-11; & I John 2:24-25, et al.). I believe we should take these scriptures to heart, and realize that the true gospel of salvation is not just about getting our ticket into heaven, but it is about a transformed life of the Spirit of God while we still live on the face of this earth. One day we will all come before God and many will hear God say, “I never knew you. Depart from me.” To whom will he say this? – To those who thought they knew him but did not because they were still operating in the flesh of man rather than living by faith in the Son of God who loved them and who gave himself up for them so that they could walk in freedom!

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).

Unless You Are Born Again
An Original Work / November 3, 2013

Based off John 3:1-21

Nicodemus came to Jesus.
He acknowledged God was with Him.
Jesus said, “You can’t see heaven
Unless you are born again.”

“How can a man be born when he’s old?
Can he enter into his mother’s womb?”
Jesus answered, “Flesh is flesh,
So of the Spirit, you must be.”

Jesus said to Nicodemus,
“You’re a teacher, and yet you don’t
Understand of what I tell you,
Because you will not believe.

“For God so loved the world that He gave
His one and His only Son for your sin.
So, whoever believes in Him
Has eternal life in heav’n.

“Light has come into the world,
But human beings love the darkness,
Because their deeds are so evil,
So in truth, they stand condemned.

“Everyone who practices evil
Fears that the Light will expose his sin.
Yet, whoever lives his life by the Light
Does so through his God.”